New York federal judge said on Wednesday she would move quickly in deciding whether to unseal hundreds of court documents linked to financier Jeffrey Epstein, who died last month while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
The documents are part of a civil lawsuit filed by one of Epstein’s alleged victims, Virginia Giuffre, against Epstein’s former associate, Ghislaine Maxwell. Giuffre has said Epstein and Maxwell trafficked her for sex while she was a teenager.
Giuffre sued Maxwell in 2015 and accused the British socialite of defaming her by calling her a liar. Maxwell has denied the claims, and the case settled on undisclosed terms earlier this year.
More than 900 court filings in the case remained secret until early August, when a federal appeals court unsealed about 2,000 pages of documents. The court ordered U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska to review each of the remaining documents to determine whether they should be unsealed.
At a hearing on Wednesday, Preska gave Giuffre, Maxwell and other interested parties two weeks to divide the documents into three categories. Preska said one category of documents – those that could have been used by a judge to decide core issues in the case – are most likely to be unsealed.
The parties will then will have a chance to make arguments about what should be public and what should remain secret.
Jeffrey Pagliuca, Maxwell’s lawyer, said at the hearing that the documents contained “hundreds” of names of people who would need to be notified and given a chance to object before they were made public.
On Tuesday, lawyers for an anonymous man urged Preska in a letter to keep the names of people who were not parties to the lawsuit secret.
Epstein was arrested on July 6 and pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges. Prosecutors said he recruited numerous underage girls to give him massages and then sexually abused them.
The wealthy 66-year-old money manager was found dead on Aug. 10 in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan. An autopsy concluded that he hanged himself.
And the Epstein scandal has also rocked MIT, where it was shown that the convicted pedophile had donated to the university, Reuters reported.
The director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab stepped down on Saturday after a New Yorker magazine article revealed the lab tried to conceal donations from disgraced late financier Jeffrey Epstein, the university said.
“This afternoon, Joi Ito submitted his resignation as Director of the Media Lab and as a professor and employee of the Institute,” MIT President Rafael Reif said in a letter posted online.
Ito could not be reached for immediate comment. The New York Times and New Yorker reported he said in an internal email, “After giving the matter a great deal of thought over the past several days and weeks, I think that it is best that I resign as director of the media lab and as a professor and employee of the Institute, effective immediately.”
Last month, Reif said the elite university would review its process for accepting donations after taking about $800,000 from foundations controlled by Epstein, who committed suicide while in jail awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
The New Yorker article uncovered deeper fundraising ties between the Media Lab and Epstein and said the institution had actively tried to conceal the extent of its connections with the disgraced financier.
On Saturday, Reif described the acceptance of contributions from Epstein as a “mistake of judgment” and said he had instructed MIT’s general counsel to bring in a prominent law firm to investigate the matter.
“Because the accusations in the (New Yorker) story are extremely serious, they demand an immediate, thorough and independent investigation,” Reif said.
Ito previously apologized for having accepted donations from Epstein and had said he would raise an amount equivalent to the donations the lab received from foundations controlled by Epstein and “direct those funds to non-profits that focus on supporting survivors of trafficking.”
The New Yorker said Ito disclosed this week he received a further $1.2 million from Epstein for investment funds under Ito’s control and $525,000 for the lab. Epstein also secured $7.5 million in donations for the lab from other wealthy individuals.
On Saturday, Ito also resigned from the board of directors of The New York Times Co and of PureTech, a biotechnology firm, according to statements from the two companies.